In the guide SmartCommerce 2022, which we launched a few days ago, we compiled all the trends that will affect e-commerce this year. The new concepts of online payments, such as open banking, the future of retail or the digitization boom for small businesses, are some of the topics we deal with. We also include the special WMS, the tool that makes warehouses smart.
In the interview section, we were able to speak with Juan Pablo Calvente, Director of Operations at Openbravo. The manager told us what the IT trends will be in the short term and how they will affect commerce, what retail should be oriented towards or what his company’s value proposition was.
MuyPymes: Why is it more necessary today than ever for retail businesses to have an omnichannel strategy?
John Paul Calvente: Really for a matter of survival. The pandemic has only accelerated this need that already existed before. It’s about delivering the level of convenience that customers expect today, allowing them to shop, pay and collect the way they want.
The challenge, however, may be too big for many retailers who haven’t done their homework in recent years, investing properly in technology or inventory strategies, for example. Today, physical stores face a new role, totally new, as logistics centers for order preparation. This entails a very high impact at a technological, process and human resource level. Delaying a decision any longer to achieve this objective today represents a very high risk for the survival of the business.
MuyPymes: What distinguishes Openbravo from other similar solutions?
John Paul Calvente: Openbravo offers an omnichannel software platform in the cloud. So far nothing particularly differential. Where we clearly stand out, and something highly valued by the type of clients we are targeting today, is in the functional and technical flexibility of said platform, built on a 100% open source stack, with mobile capabilities and a standard API that offers a wide set of functionalities to flexibly cover a variety of omnichannel and store scenarios. Everything from a single point and in real time.
Among this set of functionalities, our point of sale or POS solution clearly stands out. Fully web and mobile, ready to work with lack of connectivity, it offers standard capabilities such as clienteling, loyalty, promotions, real-time visibility of inventory, configuration in self-checkout mode or preparation of orders for scenarios such as Click & Collect or Ship from Store .
MuyPymes: What do you think the IT trends will be in the short term and how will they affect commerce?
John Paul Calvente: Without a doubt, agility is today the main capacity that any type of IT solution for retail must offer. The ability to react quickly and efficiently is more important than ever. We saw this at the start of the pandemic, with many retailers suddenly forced to handle more orders online or to make their stores able to prepare and deliver these orders overnight.
This includes the possibility of implementation, adaptation and evolution in an easier and faster way, reducing the time and effort required. In our case, supported in a key way by the concept of modularity, which offers, among other benefits, greater ease in defining and execution of pilots that reduce the risk of any change or investment, greater flexibility to cover different adoption scenarios and greater capacity for innovation.
Part of this greater agility will also be offered by the cloud, which is rapidly gaining ground, as we see in our case offering our solutions on both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
MuyPymes: What is the future of retail, where should they be oriented?
John Paul Calvente: Clearly towards the customer, placing him more at the center than ever. This poses several challenges. The first that we have already mentioned, omnichannel, which requires the new role of stores, as order preparation centers, together with the need to become centers of experiences.
The second, hyper-personalization, based on a better understanding of customers. The retail of the future is about prediction and personalization. The third, hyper-speed deliveries that today gives rise to the problem of the last mile and requires a more flexible management of inventory and is giving rise to the phenomenon of Quick Commerce. The fourth, security, influenced by the pandemic, which will drive future initiatives such as drones or robots, which are already being tested in countries such as the United States and China, also as a response to the problem of deliveries. And we can end sustainability and new circular economy models.
MuyPymes: How does Openbravo integrate with ecommerce platforms?
John Paul Calvente: Technically we have standard connectors with solutions such as Magento, which can be adapted to specific needs. If necessary, our standard API based on web services can also be used to build new integrations.
Through this integration and the use of the functionality offered by our platform, we support different omnichannel scenarios such as Click & Collect or Ship from Store. This is done by taking advantage of the central backoffice and the store solution, as well as an order management solution that, based on configured business rules, proposes the best preparation points, based on access to detailed and real-time information on everything the available inventory, both in stores and in central warehouses, thanks to basic or more advanced inventory management functionality offered by our warehouse management solution.